I am not an utter stranger to Western Australia, yet I felt as though I was stepping into a new, unknown land. When I was a mere 5 years old, I took the plane for the first time in my life and landed in Perth. Out of my own will, I was taken to see the now-vulnerable koalas, experience a farm stay, admire black swans and play in the sand dunes. All of these I don’t actually remember but am able to describe thanks to physically developed photographs.
17 years later, I came back voluntarily for a short break in part due to a suggestion, in part due to the reasonable air fare, and in part due to my absent memories of Perth. For a short 4 days, we covered places extensively without bumping into throngs of tourists or Asians – which was secretly satisfying.
With just a couple of days allocated to the city of Perth itself, we narrowed down to the most highly rated places for food and went without batting an eyelid. Our brunch at Hylin (178 Railway Parade, West Leederville WA 6007, Australia) was memorable simply for the Streetz Chicken Croissant we had. The buttermilk fried chicken was sufficiently good on its own for that crisp on the outside and juiciness underneath the skin, but further enhanced by the maple syrup-drizzled flaky croissant. Let’s also not forget about the bacon, smoked mozzarella, and tinge of spiciness from the basil chilli aioli. One thing I did forget was how sinful it was. We also got the Brisket Benny which was noteworthy for the soft beef brisket between the two slices of cheesy sourdough toast. Unfortunately, coffee here was pretty meh.
We also stopped by Chu Bakery (498 William St, Highgate WA 6003, Australia) on the way to Swan Lake, which is perhaps the most popular bakery in Perth. The Strawberry Veil, a tart pastry filled with caramel ganache and topped with fresh strawberries, cream and a gelée veil was great for the uncloying sweetness of the filling; the Salted Caramel Donut, thanks to the fluffy brioche and sweet savoury filling, was also one of the best donuts I’ve had in a while.
Yet another recommended place for brunch is Bread in Common (43 Pakenham St, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia) in Fremantle. Serving as a bakery, deli and restaurant in a huge industrial-like setting, a farm to table approach is taken for the menu here. I tried Kangaroo meat for the first time, wow-ed by the well-executed dish. The meat tasted just like seared beef tataki. We also had a Pigeon dish, and of course we couldn’t resist getting their bread and cheese to go along.
I declared my best sunset of 2019 to be the one I witnessed at Cottlesloe Beach. We stopped just slightly north of the main attraction area and spent some sentimental time watching the golden hues amidst swatting away flies.
Other places visited in Perth:
- Matilda Bay Restaurant (3 Hackett Dr, Crawley WA 6009, Australia) – amazing steak, amazing food in general
- Petition – brunch spot. 4.5 stars on Google Maps but nothing we ordered was good… will not recommend!
- Arrival Hall – hipster lifestyle shop and café
- Mandoon Estate – winery in Swan Lake region
- Crawley Edge Boatshed – no pictures because the iconic blue boathouse was covered in a grotesque pink cloth for an advertisement
- Propeller – brilliant atmosphere and service, and the Mediterranean dishes were modernised and well-executed
- Harvest Boulangerie – amazing ham and cheese croissant and crème brûlée Please go!
- Swan River Gelato – their pistachio gelato tasted so natural, so good.
- Little Creatures Brewing – for craft beer tasting
- Kailis’ Fish Market Café – known to serve one of the best fish and chips in Perth. Decent, but not the best.
On our drive down to Margaret River from Perth, we stopped by Busselton city and toured Busselton Jetty, the longest wooden pier that stretches 1.8km out to the sea. The area was busseling with activities – a marathon and cycling event underway, teenage boys diving into the ocean, families lounging by the beach, tourists strolling on the jetty. Unknowingly, I got sunburnt in that one hour walking out into the sea and back, but the view was worth it. There was also a train that can bring people back and forth but does so in a speed slower than our walking pace.
At Margaret River, we maximized our time feasting, drinking wine, and immersing in nature. The prettiest winery we went to on this trip has got to be Voyager’s Estate (41 Stevens Rd, Margaret River WA 6285, Australia), where we enjoyed a bottle of sparkling Chenin Blanc with blue cheese and truffle crackers. We also encountered lots of tour groups from Singapore.
Deemed to be the breakfast spot in Margaret River, Margaret River Bakery (89 Bussell Hwy, Margaret River WA 6285, Australia) was a quaint little café with mismatched furniture. You must get the Banana & Honeycomb Pancakes here. Though I’ve always preferred fluffy pancakes, I indulged in their dense pancakes with crisp burnt edges. The Chocolate Croissant was just as rich and crisp, with a good amount of diabetes-inducing chocolate hidden within.
Of the many caves in the Margaret River vicinity, we picked Lake Cave for the best visuals and it turned out to be a well-hosted, informative and eye-opening tour indeed. Nearby, we made a short pitstop at Boranup Forest to snap some photos of the towering, native karri trees.
For sunset viewing in Margaret River, we went to Surfer’s Point, just a few minutes’ drive away from the Margaret River’s river mouth. Apparently, a good spot to catch surfers but we didn’t manage to catch any in sight.
Other places visited in Margaret River:
- Morries – not quite sure of the concept of the restaurant. Decent food.
- Pizzica – cosy, traditional Italian restaurant that served us a legitimate fare
- Margaret River Distilling Co. – gin, whisky and cocktail tasting
- Aravina Estate – yet another vineyard
Our last sunset of the trip was caught at Mandurah, a small city just south of Perth. Specifically, we caught it near Halls Head Beach where barely anyone was around and where we could almost have the entire beach to ourselves.
Dinner place in Mandurah:
- Oyster Bar Mandurah – for uniquely flavoured grilled and raw oysters